Hello everyone! I just came back from vacation and am now ready to resume posting my apologetic material. I will post some pictures and video soon for all too see. Recently my attention has been drawn to Islamic Apologist Paul Williams. He has been making short apologetics videos. Paul, if you’re listening, I must admit that I really like your videos. They’re well done, high quality and give a good indication of what Christians can expect from top Islamic apologists. Naturally, I expected Bart Ehrman to be quoted quite a bit. However, as a Christian I encourage you to make more of these videos.
The video I want to respond to is shown above and the key spot that I want to respond to starts at about the 7 minute mark. Paul Williams is attempting to show that the view of the early Christians regarding Jesus is very close to what Islam teaches. Williams quotes the apostle Peter in Acts 2:22 where he says:
You that are Israelites, listen to what I have to say: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with deeds of power, wonders, and signs that God did through him among you, as you yourselves know— this man
Interestingly, the final words this man are actually first two words of the next verse, verse 23. Why does Williams quote verse 22, then the first two words of verse 23 then stop? Perhaps if we read the rest of verse 23 and then verse 24 we’ll see why Paul Williams stopped where he did. The verse continues here:
handed over to you according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of those outside the law. But God raised him up, having freed him from death, because it was impossible for him to be held in its power.
Does Paul Williams believe in the crucifixion, death and resurrection of Jesus according to the foreknowledge of God? I don’t think he does. This simply shows that the early Christians weren’t Muslims.
However, I will admit that these extra verses don’t clarify the Christological argument made by Williams as to Jesus being a man who God did miracles through.
First of all, do Christians believe that Jesus was a man? We certainly do. Perhaps if I were a monophysite this argument would carry some weight but the Catholic Church believes in Chalcedonian Christology and the Hypostatic Union. In other words, Jesus is both God and man. In fact, if we keep reading the speech of Peter, we find something interesting. In Acts 3:15 Peter says the following:
and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses.
Peter calls Jesus the Author of life! This is certainly a divine title because only God is the Author of life. This verse shows without a doubt that Jesus Christ is God and that the first Christians were not Muslims. They believed in the crucifixion, death, resurrection and deity of our Lord Jesus Christ. Paul Williams and all other Muslims deny this.
One last verse for Paul Williams. When Stephen was being stoned in Acts 7, just before he died, he asked his Lord Jesus Christ to receive his spirit. Acts 7:59 reads as follows:
While they were stoning Stephen, he prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”
When we look at the theology of Peter and the early Church we see clearly that they are Christians and not Muslims. They believed in the crucifixion, death, resurrection and deity of Jesus Christ.